Short Films: From Humble Beginnings to Major Success

When it comes to movies, it is always about the big blockbusters. What a lot of people don’t realize is that a lot of these blockbusters started as short films with minimal budgets ranging only in the thousands. Many of these films have been able to beat the odds and become box office success stories, and even Oscar nominated films. A few of these films include Saw, Evil Dead, District 9, and Frankenweenie.

Saw Original Short

Saw was released as a short in 2003 by Australian director James Wan, and written by Wan and Leigh Whannell, who also starred in the film. They used this as a way to gain momentum for the feature length they had planned. The budget for this film was only US $3,000. It ended up being turned into a franchise which would become the second highest grossing horror franchise in the United States.

Within The Woods – Evil Dead Original Short
Evil Dead was released as a short in 1978, originally titled Within The Woods. It was written, directed, and produced by Sam Raimi with a budget of $1600. Raimi raised the money with donations from friends and family. The film was shot at a farm house belonging to one of Raimi’s friends. It was screened alongside The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which sparked some interest. This short film also ended up turning into a major franchise, and inspired other filmmakers such as the Cohen brothers to produce short films as trailers such as Blood Simple to spark interest in their work.

There are several short horror films that have the potential to become the next franchise. One example is The Babysitter Murders. This was directed by Ryan Spindell, and is gaining buzz on the internet. Another one to look out for is Terrifier, by Damien Leone, which was inspired by his short film The 9th Circle.

The Babysitter Murders Trailer

This gives hope to aspiring filmmakers who wish to make big budget blockbusters, but may not yet have the means to do so right away. Aspiring filmmakers can utilize YouTube and Vimeo, along with other forms of social media, to promote their short films. Even humble beginnings can lead to big success.

Happy Halloween!!

Michael Hunsaker & Courtney Prantl


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